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Learning of musical and linguistic structures: comparing event-related potentials and behavior

Francois, Clément; Schön, Daniele


The authors of this article would like to add the fact that the research for their article published in last year's issue 14 of NeuroReport [ 1 ] was conducted at the Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerranée (INCM), CNRS & Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France, and it was supported by a grant from the ANR-Neuro (♯024-01) to Mireille Besson. Clément François was also supported by the ANR-Neuro (♯024-01).

The authors apologise for this omission in the original publication.

NeuroReport. 22(10):514, July 13th, 2011.

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833ddd5e

To learn a new language, it is necessary for the learner to succeed in segmenting the continuous stream of sounds into significant units. Previous behavioral studies have shown that it is possible to segment a language or musical stream based only on probabilities of occurrence between adjacent syllables/tones. Here we used a sung language and tested participants' learning of both linguistic and musical structures while recording electroencephalography. Although behavioral results showed learning of the linguistic structure only, event-related potential results for both dimensions showed a negative component sensitive to the degree of familiarity of items. We discuss this component as an index of lexical search, also pointing to the greater sensitivity of the event-related potentials compared to the behavioral responses.

Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerrannée, CNRS - Aix-Marseille Universities, France

Correspondence to Clément Francois, CNRS-INCM, 31 Chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13402 Marseille Cedex 20, France

Tel: +33 4 91 16 41 13; fax: +33 4 91 16 44 98;


Received 31 May 2010 accepted 4 July 2010

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.